Brand Experience Brief: True Food Kitchen

(Here’s a new Brand Experience Brief.  Check out other video briefings about the brand experiences at new or interesting restaurant or retail concepts.)

Farm to Table is a growing movement in American culture and True Food Kitchen, a new restaurant concept, is poised to seize the moment with a well-designed brand experience.

Brand Experience Brief: True Food Kitchen (by Denise Lee Yohn) from Denise Lee Yohn on Vimeo.

other brand experience briefs:


Farm to Table is a growing movement in American culture.  The consumption of food that’s been produced and grown locally is currently popular among foodies and health enthusiasts and is poised to go more mainstream.  This Brand Experience Brief will show you how the folks at True Food Kitchen are advancing this cultural movement.

True Food is a restaurant concept with 6 locations including the shi-shi Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach and the one I visited in San Diego.  True Food is a collaboration between healthy-living book author Dr. Andrew Weil who advocates an anti-inflammatory diet and Fox Restaurant Concepts which is the company behind 30 cool restaurants including Zinburger Wine& Burger Bar which I’ve featured in a brief previously.

True Food’s menu features fresh, healthy ingredients in creative dishes like edamame dumplings, spaghetti squash casserole, and a popular grass-fed bison burger with mushrooms, onions, parmesan, and umami, and served with a side of sweet potato hash.  You can also enjoy unique, non-alcoholic drinks such as the medicine man made with pomegranate, cranberry, black tea, soda, and sea buckthorn (not sure what that is but it was delicious.)  Most of the ingredients were sourced from two local farms which our server named as he introduced the restaurant to us.

Speaking of our server, all the people working at True Food were very friendly and engaging.  And there were a lot of them buzzing around in their cool uniforms and hip saddle bag-style aprons.

That was only one of the many design details that contributed to an aesthetically pleasing environment.  The wood and concrete exterior is striking and carts overflowing with fresh herbs greet you on the walk up to the restaurant.  Live plants continue to be a motif in the interior, as are natural materials and fresh fruit.  Splashes of green and yellow on the bar stools, banquettes, and chairs give a fresh, lively feeling.  The centerpiece of the airy outdoor patio is a huge fire pit with colorful Adirondack chairs and pillows that seem to be a party waiting to happen. The most striking design element though is the open kitchen with its fires flaming, pots banging, and chefs calling out orders – it’s definitely food theatre at its best.

The True Food concept seems intent on making farm to table dining accessible and appealing.  The place is huge, with over 300 seats, and exudes a positive, active energy.  The bar features flat screens and there’s a good selection of beers, wines, and cocktails.  And while there’s no mistaking the healthfulness of the food, the recipes and preparation are intended to make them flavorful and satisfying.

Judging from the crowd that was at the place on a Sunday night, I’d say the movement is catching on in San Diego.  I’m not sure how much appeal the concept would have outside of California and Phoenix, its home base, but the combination of striking design, great service, and tasty food make True Food a true experience.

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